Alpina B6 S (E64) | PH Private Area
With more torque and much greater rarity value, the B6 is a fine alternative to the BMW M6
By John Howell / Thursday, 18 May 2023 / Loading comments
We’re used to seeing cars that were once regular sights from the ‘70s and ‘80s now dwindling in number, but howmanyleft says there’s only one Alpina B6 registered today. Is this it? Quite possibly. I don’t know whether something’s awry with the data but still, there’s no doubting the rarity of this model. Somewhere in the region of 40 Alpina B6 E64s were made, and of those just three were said to be right-hand drive and bound for the UK.
Just look at it, too. There was a time when the E63/ E64 6 Series might have been considered a bit gawky, yet these days it almost looks like a work of art. I say that as someone who had to go all the way to America a few months back to set eyes on an XM in the flesh. I still have nightmares about it and wake up in a cold sweat. Hard to believe that Adrian van Hooydonk, the man who’s ultimately the head of BMW design today, was responsible for the E63 and E64 and signed off the XM. But anyway, let’s not get mired in BMW’s current design philosophy. It’s been discussed enough, and I am beginning to feel queasy again.
The B6’s V8 motor is based on BMW’s N62 V8, but with many changes. Alpina calls its version the H1, and the company went to Steyr to get a bespoke block made for it. Regular Alpina supplier, Mahle, supplied the pistons and it also came with a forged crankshaft. Plus, of course, it has a supercharger – a compact, ASA T1 centrifugal compressor mounted on the right-hand side of the engine. Clearly that differentiated the B6 from the naturally aspirated M6’s mighty S85 V10, but it had the same power (500hp) to begin with and it developed more torque. A lot more, as it happens. It made 516lb ft, which is 132lb ft more than the M6.
That meant the B6 could romp off to 62mph in 4.6 seconds as a coupé, although the heavier convertible tempered that slightly to 4.9 seconds. If you think that’s a bit tardy, then this is the B6 S, introduced in 2008. The S comes with the Type H1/2 engine, which has the same capacity, but, thanks to tweaks to the valve timing and the compressor, came with an extra 30 horsepower and 19 foot-pounds. All in all, that shaved another tenth off the zero-to-sixty-two dash and, flat out, Alpina claims its convertible will crack 194mph.
This example has been with its current owner since 2015. The advert states that the decision to sell it has come ‘after much deliberation,’ and I am not surprised to be honest. It’s the kind of car that would worm its way into most people’s affections, and while it has done 103,000 miles, who cares? That’s what Alpinas are built to do: big miles, often at big speeds. This one’s been to the south of France a number of times, and I bet it was just the ticket for that trip. It looks tidy despite the miles – the stated stone chips and wear to the driver’s seat are to be expected – and it’s not long had a service.
I remember sitting in one of these at the Alpina factory. Well, I say one of these; it was actually a E63 B6 GT3, built for Alpina’s return to motorsport after a gap of 20 years. That car really did look the bee’s knees and was designed to compete in the FIA GT3 world championship. It still had the same supercharged 4.4-litre V8 engine found in this road car, producing the same 530hp. The point is, if 530hp was good enough for the GT3 world championship, then it’s a handsome amount in a road car – especially one that’s as rare and appealing as this is.
SPECIFICATION | Alpina B6 S (E64)
Engine: 4,398cc, V8, supercharged
Transmission: six-speed automatic, rear-wheel drive
Power (hp): 530 @ 5,500rpm
Torque (lb ft): 535 @ 4,250rpm
Recorded mileage: 103,000
Year registered: 2008
Price new: N/A
Yours for: £29,000
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